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Features

  • As 16-month-old Aislynne stood on the courtroom table in front of Jeffco Judge Ann Gail Meinster on Nov. 21, her soon-to-be mother, Jena, straightened the young girl’s new dress. 

    Everyone in the courtroom laughed as Aislynne danced on the table, clapping her tiny hands to an unheard rhythm. 

    “Well, let’s make her yours officially,” Meinster told Jena through laughter. 

  • Some people define success not by the presence of monetary gain but by the absence of constraints — in other words, the freedom to pursue their dreams. 

    For Todd McFarlane, legendary comic book creator and owner of McFarlane Toys, success has meant the freedom to work without the constraints of others’ limitations. 

  • It might seem counterintuitive, but for many beekeepers, taking care of a hive isn’t just about the sweet reward. 

    Instead, it’s born of a fascination with a creature that so much of our daily sustenance depends upon. 

    Bees, along with other insects and birds, pollinate 35 percent of the world’s food crops. Yet the number of bees in the world has dropped drastically in recent years.  

    The decline made Joanie Bock want to put a beehive in her Littleton backyard. 

  • Marie Rugg was one of the countless patriots who volunteered to help our country during World War II.  

    But on this Veterans Day, Rugg’s story stands out as special. She was in the first wave of women to sign up for the U.S. Marines when women were allowed to join the corps.

    “I wanted to volunteer to free a man to fight,” said Rugg, who now lives in an apartment at the Gardens at Columbine assisted-living facility. “I just wanted to do something for my country.”

  • Jefferson County’s Human Services Department is looking for some good samaritans this holiday season.

    The Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program matches donors with families receiving services from the county’s Division of Children, Youth and Families, said Korina Keating, Human Services’ volunteer coordinator. 

    A donor receives two lists for the family being shopped for —  one of needs and one of wants, Keating said. 

  • As the judges compiled their notes, the costumed contestants sniffed out the competition. 

    It was a fierce battle. But when all was said and done, Leo, an 8-month-old puppy in a lion outfit, was obviously the top dog among the dozen or so canines competing for title of cutest. 

    The competition was part of the final event of the UFO World Cup Frisbee Dog Series, held Saturday at Clement Park and hosted by the Colorado Disc Dogs. 

  • The group descended on the backyard in south Littleton during the early-morning calm of the weekend.

    Armed with rakes and saws, plastic bags and hammers, the two dozen volunteers attacked a large pile of junk in back of the house. 

    The husband and wife who own the home, and who wished to remain nameless, have lived in the house for 43 years. The husband, a former engineer, had collected various items over the years that he either intended to fix or turn into something new. 

  • It isn’t fall until there are pumpkins.

    There were more than a few pumpkin hunters looking for the perfect canvas for their Halloween art on Saturday at Littleton’s annual Harvest Festival pumpkin patch. 

    “The kids love to come out here and look for pumpkins,” said Betsy Reagan of Littleton. “It’s hard to say no to the kids when they find the perfect pumpkin.”

  • Christina Garza’s paternal grandfather, who worked in a uranium mine, was diagnosed with liver cancer when she was 4. He died a year later. 

    Garza knew then her calling was to be a doctor.

  • Littleton is known for its genteel small-town ways — even the walking dead obey the traffic laws.

    About 300 zombies weaved their way through downtown Saturday, led by a Dixieland jazz band playing a funeral dirge, as part of the fourth annual Zombie Crawl and Pig Roast. 

    While most zombie hoards tend to cause mayhem and destruction, this band of undead stuck to the sidewalks and obeyed the traffic lights. 

  • Students at Montessori School at Ken Caryl have learned the hard way that sometimes Halloween can be more about tricks than treats. 

    A 40-pound pumpkin that the students in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten had grown in hopes of raffling off to raise money for classroom activities was vandalized in mid-September.

  • One by one, the balloons joined an airborne procession above Clement Park as they floated toward the horizon. As each name was read aloud, a person in the crowd of about 1,000 released another balloon that rose and joined the rest.  

    More than 450 names were read Saturday at A Walk to Remember. Each balloon carried the name of an infant who died, either as a stillborn baby, from SIDS or from a life-shortening illness. 

  • The rainy, chilly afternoon on Sept. 27 gave way to a warm gesture of compassion, as the Front Range Christian School community presented more than $2,600 in bake-sale proceeds to the Lyons High Lions.

    Lyons, one of the towns hit hardest by September’s floods, saw roads swallowed and families displaced, leaving the community to pick up and start over amid the chaos of destruction.   

    But not alone.

  • The important thing is not to panic. And to remember that you won’t starve to death. 

    Because you’re surrounded by corn. 

    The Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield has laid out a perplexing course for its corn maze this year, the 14th installment of the popular populist puzzle. The labyrinth is spread out over 8 acres of maize, and hints are sprinkled throughout.

    “Follow the hints; they’re really helpful,” said volunteer Dale Huffner. “Of course, that’s unless you want to get lost in there.”

  • A fly fisherman who’d been working a river at Eldorado Canyon State Park watched a group of beginner climbers slowly work their way up the rock as he walked back to his truck. 

    “Are those kids blind?” he exclaimed.

    Of the dozen and a half people on the four established climbing routes, almost all were visually impaired. The climbers were students of the independence training program at the Colorado Center for the Blind in Littleton. 

  • The Army Corps of Engineers has released its final plan for the expansion of Chatfield Reservoir, a proposal designed to help meet growing demands for water but one that is still opposed by at least one conservation group.

    The chosen plan, labeled Alternative 3, would raise the water levels by a maximum of 12 feet and increase the maximum storage by 20,600 acre-feet. Some 587 acres of Chatfield State Park, Colorado’s most popular, would be flooded in peak storage years to provide more water for urban and agricultural users on the Front Range.

  • When a young person makes that first long sojourn away from home, it's often a challenge to know what to bring along.
    But it always makes sense to bring an appetite.

  • Littleton has a lot to offer.
    And most of it is on display this week as Western Welcome Week gets into full swing.

  • Music is freedom. 

    Music can mean freedom from the pain and misery of a broken heart, or the feeling of freedom that new love brings. 

    For Donavan Ariza, 16, music has meant freedom from the stress, pain and loneliness of fighting cancer.

    “It was everything. It brightened me up when I was down,” Donavan said. “It helped me out so much.”

  • Some families you’re born into, bound to each other by blood.

    Others you earn your way into with blood, sweat and sacrifice.

    After 20 grueling weeks of training, testing and a lot of pushups, 25 new members were welcomed into the metro area’s firefighting family on Friday when they earned their badges. 

    The new firefighters will work at the Littleton, West Metro, South Metro and Cunningham fire departments.